By MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY Foer 21st Century Media
OXFORD - For the third year in a row, the first Monday of December was Oxford Borough Day. Workers at the Borough Hall invited the community to come in, enjoy some refreshments, and find out more about how their local government works.
'I think they want to know how we're running the borough, and if we're using their money wisely,' Borough Manager Betsy Brantner said. 'I think they're concerned about the budget. They want to know if taxes are going to continue to go up. They're concerned about water rates, the things that hit them every day, utilities are always a question.'
There were informational handouts, and a power point presentation, but the best information came from the opportunity to talk to borough employees and officials.
'It's just a really good opportunity to sit down and talk to people face to face outside of a council meeting. They can ask any question,' Brantner said. 'We pass out a lot of information so they know what our employees do, and having Representative Lawrence here is a real help.'
Representative John Lawrence, R-13, of West Grove was at the event in the early afternoon, while a number of borough council members arrived later after work hours. 'I think its a great idea for people to have an opportunity to see what's going on,' Lawrence said. 'I wanted to come by and answer any questions that come up.'
A variety of subjects were on visitors minds. 'One thing that is important to Oxford residents now is transportation funding,' Brantner said. 'The streets are in bad condition and they need help - where is the money going to come from?'
Municipalities are required to have their budgets available for inspection prior to final approval, and this is was one opportunity to not only look at the budget, but to talk with Brantner and learn more about Borough expenses. 'The main focus of it is the borough budget. That is one reason we started this,' she said.
Recycling is also an area where people have questions, and it is an area that the Borough is trying to promote. To highlight that, Borough Day included a contest for ideas on how to gift wrap with recycled materials. 'That's our way of involving the community from every angle,' Brantner said.
Janet Wilson Day was one of the residents who brought in a contest entry that used aluminum cans as wrapping and as a bow. 'I thought it was fun. It would be a great thing for kids to do,' she said.
The Borough Hall was open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., plus the borough police station was open as well. 'It's good for people to feel like your welcoming them. I look at it as an opportunity to thank them,' Brantner said. 'We're always hoping residents will come in. We're here to support them.'